People sometimes have “rescue remorse” when adopting a cat or dog. With Trixie, I went from the warm fuzzy rescue after-glow straight to “rescue panic” within 72 hours! What had I gotten myself into???

Rescue remorse is not uncommon. People feel that adopting vs buying a pet is doing the right thing. Then, before the fuzzy warm rescue after-glow has a chance to take hold, they find they’re not bonding to or coping as well with the dog or cat as they’d hoped. From experience, I understand this all too well. Many times I’ve had no choice but to accept that my time, my patience and my adjustment to their unique needs and quirks was needed to bond with a rescue pet. But with Trixie, this was a whole new ball game for me! I wasn’t sure I was up to it.

It quickly became clear, even to me, that her physical mobility issues were more complex than most tripods. My anxiety soared as everything I tried to do to make her a happy regular dog also looked like it was potentially harming her. She seemed so fragile and easily tired, yet she desperately wanted to run, play and romp with the other 3 dogs in her new pack.

Note: In these two clips she’s stressed because I was walking away from her and she was still very insecure, we’d only been together a few days. I didn’t enjoy it, but I needed to get footage of her gait for our helpful veterinary angels to view.

I loved Trixie immediately when she was shown to me. I saw her sweet face and the terrible anxiety she lived daily. Trixie had the triple whammy of hard knocks that results in a dog being in a permanent state of anxiety and fear. First, she’d been abandoned and was found severely injured, scared and starving. Second, she’d had a front leg amputated and her other front leg had also been badly injured so her mobility left her at a disadvantage around other dogs (and people!). Third, she was living in a free-range dog rescue home (on large acreage) and although very caring, it was a lot for a dog as insecure as Trixie to handle.

I was desperately looking for other regular folks with similar experiences to talk to. Fortunately, a little time researching on the internet led me to the free community forum at Tripawds.

I wanted reassurance and to find any specialist and professional guidance and information available. I needed good folks to help me:

  1. Understand what was really going on with Trixie’s mobility and general health,
  2. How to best assist and manage her physical and emotional state,
  3. Confirm I wasn’t doomed to a life of tears watching her struggle and deteriorate – I wanted to enjoy watching her love life!

I got all this reassurance and more!

First, Jerry the founder of Tripawds reassured me. He and others confirmed they had all been through the process of anxiety and had fantastic experiences with their tripods. They gave solid workable suggestions that reassured me. I read the various articles and blogs available and immediately felt OK. I knew that I couldn’t make life perfect for Trixie but I was going to be able to help her live her best life.

Jerry also directed me to their “Ask A Vet!” forum. I posted my anxious queries and was amazed at the dedication behind the replies. I followed the steps Dr Pam patiently gave me. First, Trixie needed new x-rays. Not so easy for a dog in rural Paraguay! It’s difficult for vets to afford technical equipment here. We found one that had a bizarre prehistoric mobile x-ray camera (in Thailand my experience was that we often bribed and sneaked a dog into a regional hospital for an x-ray, but’s that’s a story for another day!!!).

Trixie gets deeply stressed around vets and is always initially nervous of strange men, so it wasn’t a nice experience for her, our stress levels were on par! Then we got the results. Her x-ray images shocked our rescue vet and Dr Pam. Trixie had fractures in her remaining front leg and her left hip that had healed badly. Here are a few of the images:

Dr Pam wrote:

Thanks for the images; this poor dog!  She has a pretty bad pelvic fracture on the right side so her hip joint is not normal.  The left hip looks okay and her elbow joint is normal but unfortunately her carpus (wrist) joint is out of place. Most likely the tendon damage pulled the joint apart or she suffered a fracture through the joint plate but either way her joint is not lined up so she is unable to bear weight. Combine that with the fractured pelvis and amputated leg and I am surprised that this girl can even get up.

In a perfect world she would have a carpal arthrodesis where they fuse the joint with a metal plate but that might not be something you can find; even here in the States that surgery is generally only done by a specialist. I would look into getting a carpal brace preferable a heavy duty one. You can order those through Hero braces or OrthoPet but your vet might need to help you take measurements. You will want a brace that is hinged and has heavier material such as fiberglass or multiple soft layers with padding. You can try to pad and wrap the area yourself or with your vet but you need to make sure it is not too tight and that you do not create any pressure sores.

Dr Pam,

A Zest For Life, With Information Comes Power

My panic levels for Trixie continued to be high for a few weeks. However as I started to order a couple of online affordable generic support items for her remaining front leg… time passed. And so did my stress levels.

I adjusted to Trixie. Trixie and her new pack adjusted to each other and we started to settle in with each other and figure out our new normal. While I remained conscious of her mobility issues, I normalized to Trixie’s view on life!

She was thriving!

Her joy, adoring affection, and even cheeky naughtiness was proof. No longer an extremely nervous dog shaking with fear hiding under the bushes, she was already living her best life. She was making herself not only Queen of the pack but also a beloved member of my home.

I don’t stress so much now. She’s a far happier and confident dog now that she has a forever home, even other people comment on her transformation. We’ve made a few house adjustments to accommodate her a little better, implemented a healthy homemade doggie diet (much to their delight!) and have a few support devices that we’re learning by trial and error to get right. I’m less anxious about the “errors” now.

In reality, while I was initially feeling terrible, stressed and even guilty about her ‘mobility frailty’ – she was relaxing, gaining confidence and coming into her own. She actually dashes across the verandah to steal chew-bones from her new pack mates. Queen Trixie is quite the agile and bossy thief when she wants to be!

I’m so glad that she wasn’t euthanized. After 6 months of living together, I no longer see her as a victim to be saved. I see her as a loving dog, with a lot of character who always needs the last “woof” and is often in trouble for being far to happy, confident and territorial – yes, she thinks she’s my guardian watch dog now!!!